Jeff Sessions is Donald Trump’s nominee for Attorney General, I’m delighted to report. Sessions was said to be under consideration for Secretary of Defense. However, the Senator’s expertise and background militated in favor of the AG position.
It’s a good sign that Trump recognized this. I hope he takes the same approach to selecting his Secretary of State, for example.
Over the years, I have admired Sen. Sessions from afar and come to know a few members of his excellent staff. I finally met the Senator a few months ago at a reception. We spoke for at least 15 minutes. I was impressed not just by his grasp of issues, which I fully expected, but also by knowledge of detail. At the personal level, he could not have been nicer or less pretentious.
The only downside to Sessions’ selection is that it will remove him from the Senate where he has led the charge against lenient criminal sentencing and amnesty-style immigration reform. However, as Mark Krikorian assures us, Sen. Tom Cotton, along with Sen. David Perdue, will ably fill that breach, assuming Cotton doesn’t end up in the administration.
Krikorian has this to say about Sessions:
[T]here’s no one in the country better qualified to be Attorney General than Jeff Sessions. His probity and rectitude are beyond question. Reverence for the laws is his political religion, and the contrast between him and the blandly sinister Loretta Lynch couldn’t be starker.
And for those skeptical of the president-elect, Sessions has both the integrity and the relationship with Trump to be able to say “no” if the president was ever to attempt anything beyond the pale legally.
As Krikorian reminds us, in 1986, Jeff Sessions was “Borked avant la lettre.” Ted Kennedy railed against his nomination for a federal judgeship, accusing Sessions of racism and calling him “a throwback to a shameful era.”
These charges will be recycled now. However, nearly all of the Senators who will consider Sessions’ nomination have served with him. Whatever their views of his politics, they must know he is not a racist, though some may pretend otherwise.
The case of the late Sen. Arlen Specter is instructive. He was among those who opposed Sessions’ nomination back in 1986. After serving with Sessions in the Senate, Specter acknowledged that there was nothing racist or otherwise personally objectionable about the Alabama man.
Donald Trump’s first Cabinet pick is a stellar one.